‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ is directed by Michael Dougherty and is the sequel to the 2014 Garreth Edwards directed ‘Godzilla’, and centers around a family that was split apart through a tragedy following the events of the first film. The family played by Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, and Milly Bobby Brown, are now facing a world of monsters, where they have the powers to awaken the biggest and deadliest of titans, which brings out our hero Godzilla to defend humanity one more time from titans that ‘Toho Godzilla’ fans will absolutely love seeing on the big screen.
Now I need to preface this review because it’s important to be transparent to the die-hard fans of properties such as Godzilla. I do not have a big knowledge, if not anything but visual references of the Toho Godzilla films. I recall watching the Matthew Broderick ‘Godzilla’ but as a kid, you kind of just think everything’s great that has monsters in them. What also should be said is I really could not connect to the 2014 Godzilla film. I felt it was far too slow, never really fulfilled on the expectations you got from the trailers, however, the visual effects and the overall scope and scale of the big lizard was absolutely mind-blowing (and though it happened far too late, I of course also cheered at the final battle sequence). Frankly, I know I am the outlier here and completely respect why people love this property, I hope you take that into consideration with my review.
With ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ I feel they attempt to overcorrect on the complaints general audiences had with the 2014 version. The action in this film is much more apparent and spread out pretty evenly throughout the film. You get a lot of POV destruction shots, and I felt the pacing of ‘KOTM’ was much more tuned to keep the audience engaged. The actors do fine in their roles, although they don’t really have the best story arcs to expand on mainly due to the effort to steer more towards the fights and explosions. I really don’t have anything bad to say on the performances the standout to me was Ken Wantanabe, he gets a really great moment with ‘Godzilla’ that was the heart of the film for sure.
The visual effects were absolutely astounding when it comes to creature design. Looking at the original ‘Toho’ series it’s incredible what they’re able to do. This sequel gets to use more characters from the ‘Toho’ universe such as King Ghidora, Mothra, and perhaps a few surprises for the die-hard fans. The Mothra reveal for me was just jaw-dropping effects wise. they still kept with the epic scale of the fights, where everything feels slowed down but you realize it’s because it’s two monsters the size of mountains fighting each other. But where it is good, there is bad, and the fighting, it’s bad.
I had a really hard time following along with some of the fights, where the CGI effects around the monsters (fog, rain, etc) sometimes completely obstructed the view of the fight. I found myself getting really frustrated during the fights because they really never seemed to be choreographed or that there was any attention to how the fights would go down. You get a big moment much like the 2014 film, but the difference to me here is while the 2014 end fight built to the moment, ‘KOTM’ rushes from fight to fight, and when the emotional final battle arrives, I just felt numb and didn’t feel the impact as much as I wanted to in the ending.
Also, I cannot WAIT to move past this new trope for villains to always be eco-terrorists. We’ve seen it with Thanos, and so many other iterations of the same idea that “humans are the problem, and that’s why I can do this crazy thing”. The plot revolves around this and another plot point similar to the “How to Train Your Dragon” series, however, in this case, they really didn’t know how to incorporate it with Godzilla and just didn’t work for me.
It’s a shame because they don’t do much with the story, and what they do with the action often felt sloppy and unrehearsed and while maybe some people enjoy that, I still felt pretty let down leaving the theater. Don’t know if I’m ready to be put back into the finger for the upcoming ‘Godzilla vs Kong’, but for ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ I would say if you are a die-hard fan definitely check it out, I’m sure you’ll love it!
For me, I’m going to give it a 5/10